Sarah Wollaston: ‘My Anti-Stalking Law Must Not Be Delayed By Brexit’

Newly Independent (formerly Conservative) MP Sarah Wollaston talks about stalking, second referendum and... riding her tandem

Sarah Wollaston

by As told to Anna Silverman |

It’s not every day you get the chance to see your bill go through Parliament and have it become an Act, but my Stalking Protection Bill was passed in March. Annoyingly, we’re still waiting for it to come into force; we’ve been told it will by the end of the year but that’s frustrating, as so many people’s lives are really affected by stalking.

I appreciate it takes time, as a huge amount of training is needed in the Criminal Justice System when you bring in a new order, but I’m really worried it could be delayed by Brexit; if civil servants are diverted to no-deal planning and important things like protecting victims get left by the wayside.

At the moment, if you’re a victim of stalking, the onus is on you to take action, whereas when Stalking Protection Orders are brought in through my bill, it’ll be the police who can apply for them. Also, the balance of evidence required will be that of a civil case, not a criminal case. If the perpetrator breaches the order, that will be a criminal offence though, with serious penalties. The cool thing is it’ll be easier for a victim to get one and more severe for anyone who breaches one. Even if they’re stalking online or from abroad, they could still go to prison for it.

As a doctor and chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, I’m speaking out about the impact a hard Brexit will have on our health system: from science and research, through to the safety of medicines and getting products on to the pharmacy shelves. And, if we crash out at the end of October, that’s just as the NHS goes into its busiest period. In flu season, you need a more rapid turnover of medicine. It’s also about the workforce; nearly one in 10 doctors are from the EU. Even your ability to travel abroad and have free health care will be disrupted. It’s my job to say loud and clear: Brexit is bad for our health.

I think we’ll have a general election soon, because if just two more MPs resign the whip, the Government won’t have a majority. So, my other line of campaigning has been to say ‘how can we get a Remain alliance together in case that happens?’ This would mean those who are for Remain coming together to be able to prepare for the possibility of a general election. Personally, I think it’s best to have a second referendum because people want to express views on other things in a general election. Whatever happens, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

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CREDIT: Twitter Danielle Rowley

Danielle Rowley, 28, Midlothian Scottish Labour MP

Speaking about her groundbreaking announcement, Danielle perfectly highlighted just how ridiculous it is that it's even a taboo to mention your period. She said on Twitter:'A lot of unexpected coverage of me talking about my period - which is great, but also highlights the need to talk about periods more openly.A woman mentioning her period shouldn't be such huge news - let's use this opportunity and work together to get to a place where it's not!'

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